Canada marks a significant milestone as Canadian communities continue to embrace Afghan nationals, helping them adjust to their new homes as the Government of Canada aims to resettle a minimum of 40,000 Afghans by the end of this year.
The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced today that Canada has welcomed over 30,000 Afghan refugees since August 2021. The most recent arrivals landed in Toronto, Ontario, on a charter flight from Pakistan, including Afghans who supported Canada’s mission in Afghanistan, family members of former interpreters, and privately sponsored refugees through the humanitarian stream. Canada’s resettlement program prioritizes the most vulnerable Afghans, such as women leaders, human rights advocates, persecuted religious minorities, 2SLGBTQI+ individuals, and journalists.
The newcomers will join communities across Canada, including Surrey (BC), Toronto, and London (ON).
The Government of Canada is on course to resettle at least 40,000 Afghans by the end of 2023. However, many Afghans still face considerable risks in attempting to leave Afghanistan or require assistance for their journey. Challenges persist due to the absence of Canadian diplomatic or military personnel in Afghanistan, and the constantly changing and dangerous conditions.
Collaboration with international partners, such as the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, and other regional countries, has enabled many Afghans to find safety in Canada. The invaluable contributions of international organizations and referral partners, including the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Refugee Agency, Frontline Defenders, and ProtectDefenders.eu, cannot be overstated. The significant efforts of provincial and territorial partners, municipalities, resettlement service providers, and numerous Canadians have made this accomplishment possible.
Quotes “Today, as we celebrate the significant milestone of welcoming over 30,000 vulnerable Afghans to their new homes, I am proud of Canada’s longstanding humanitarian tradition. As we work towards resettling at least 40,000 Afghans by the end of 2023, this ambitious achievement is a testament to the incredible collaboration among governments, stakeholders, and NGOs. Welcoming refugees is an essential aspect of our identity, and we remain committed to supporting vulnerable Afghans in their transition to a better life in Canada despite the unprecedented scale and complexity of the Afghanistan resettlement effort.”
– The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
“For over 70 years, the International Organization for Migration has been dedicated to the safe and dignified resettlement of refugees worldwide. We are proud to contribute to Canada’s efforts in providing a new home for thousands of vulnerable Afghans and continue to work closely with the Government of Canada and other partners to ensure they can begin anew in safety.”
– António Vitorino, Director General, International Organization for Migration
Quick facts Canada’s commitment to resettle at least 40,000 Afghan nationals by the end of 2023 is among the largest programs globally.
Over half of this commitment focuses on those who assisted Canada, including 18,000 spaces for the Special Immigration Measures (SIMs) program for Afghan nationals and their families, and up to 5,000 extended family members of Afghan interpreters who arrived in Canada under earlier programs.
Canada was among the first countries to initiate a special humanitarian resettlement program for vulnerable Afghans.
Canadian communities continue to embrace Afghan nationals, more than 170 communities across Canada have welcomed Afghans. Detailed information about these communities is available on our website.
The Government of Canada recently introduced Criminal Code amendments to reduce barriers faced by individuals aiding Afghans in leaving the country safely.
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